Research Article By Sparks Orthopedic Physician Published


Fort Smith - As hospitals across the country work to improve the quality of care their patients receive and reduce the number of readmissions into their facilities, John Harp, BSCE, MD, of Sparks Clinic Orthopedics, is spearheading a study focused on better measures for monitoring the air quality in orthopedic operating rooms.

His clinical test study was recently published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery Open Access publication. JBJS has been the most valued source of information for orthopaedic surgeons and researchers for over 125 years and is the gold standard in peer-reviewed scientific information in the field, according to the website.

Dr. Harp has been performing joint replacement surgeries as part of the Sparks Orthopedic and Spine Center since it opened three years ago. While the center has a low complication rate which is comparable to other joint replacement centers across the nation, according to Dr. Harp, he wanted to examine ways to further reduce periprosthetic joint infection. The focus of his clinical test is to measure airborne microbial-carrying particles in the operating room environment.

Currently, there is no standard technique in the United States to measure intraoperative airborne microbe-carrying particle contamination during total joint replacement, nor are there guideline levels for interpretation, Dr. Harp writes in his study. During the study, Dr. Harp worked closely with Dr. William Whyte, DSc, of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, who is an authority on the topic.

A simple test using "settle plates" placed in various areas of the operating room allowed Dr. Harp to measure the amount of bacteria in the air that had settled in high-traffic areas of the room. Over a period of 11 months, 47 procedures were monitored by Dr. Harp. The result is a very simple and low cost way to check air quality, as well as guideline standards that other healthcare providers across the country could use.

Dr. Harp has been in practice for more than 20 years. He, along with four other orthopedic physicians joined Sparks to form Sparks Clinic Orthopedics last fall. The clinic is located in the Sparks Medical Plaza on Dodson Avenue. In addition to outpatient services, Dr. Harp provides surgical solutions for patients suffering from joint pain. With the aid of specially trained nurses and therapists, Dr. Harp and his fellow orthopedic surgeons are able to help patients on the Sparks Orthopedic unit walk soon after surgery and spend a mere 1-2 nights in the hospital. The 9-bed unit has provided a simplified process for joint replacement surgery for hundreds of patients and saved them a long commute outside of the River Valley.

Sparks Health System includes Sparks Regional Medical Center, Sparks Medical Center - Van Buren, Sparks Clinic, Sparks PremierCare and the fully hospital-integrated Marvin Altman Fitness Center. For more information about Sparks Health System, visit


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